The Strength of Weak Ties

Everyone participates. Everyone contributes. Leveraging the power of digital networks to connect people, resources and ideas to drive creativity and innovation forward...and actually accomplish something!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Digital Storytelling DAY 1

I'm up in Elgin, Illinois, my home town, where I graduated from Elgin Larkin High School in 1977 (It's been fun returning to the district that I graduated from). I've got 15 teachers from District U-46 starting on a four-day digital storytelling course that will help them initiate a digital storytelling program in their 52 schools. I've worked with them in the past, helping them build an instructional support program with their 52 new Instructional Technology Facilitators. Their work is being supported by their outstanding and visionary Instructional Technology Coordinator, Janine Shelley.

We are using the classical digital storytelling approach that is advocated by the Center for Digital Storytelling and that I have used for three years in my school district with great success. We've probably had well over a thousand students traverse through our program with outstanding results, so we know the process works because our kids have actually done it. This process of course is grounded in writing-and did we have some great stories today! I was really impressed with the participant's ability to develop their personal narrative, and then develop their script from that. Included in both is a focus on a fundamental, universal theme (loss, accomplishment, challenge, personal growth, etc.) that any viewer can relate to-it's a personal story but everyone can relate to because they have experienced it as well.

I've also introduced Flickr much to my delight. And they have bought in hook, line, and sinker when they saw the phenomenal imagery that is available. I've also showed them how to use single image analysis to promote writing and the interpretation of visual imagery, and on Thursday, each participant will build an "image chest" filled with images from the attribution pool that students will be able to use in their projects. We've done this in my district with good results-outstanding photography and safe for kids....

My participants will also be building a second movie, and we'll be using MovieMaker 2.1 to provide two tools that the teachers can use with their kids.

Digital storytelling workshops are complex endeavors, but watching wonderful stories come alive make it all worthwhile, and especially when the teachers tell you about the wonderful stories their kids produce....


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